MANATEE -- Family members packed Circuit Judge Edward Nicholas' Manatee County courtroom to testify today during an emotional sentencing hearing for reputed SUR-13 gang member Daniel Robledo.
And after an hour, Nicholas sentenced Robledo to life in prison without the chance for parole, plus a 25-year minimum mandatory sentence linked to the state's 10-20-life shooting law, said Assistant State Attorney Pamela Buha.
Robledo was found guilty in March of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Elvis Ruiz of Bradenton.
Robledo also faces another trial this fall along with roughly a dozen additional reputed SUR-13 gang members on 17 counts, including racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering, Buha added.
Nicholas told Robledo that bad choices can have a "ripple effect" that can destroy multiple families.
The judge also said that, in his mind, there was "no question regarding guilt" in the shooting, which occurred at roughly 3 a.m. July 13, 2011 in the 900 block of 33rd Avenue East.
The jury, after hearing the testimony of an eyewitness, found that Robledo had shot Ruiz with a shotgun.
"The state feels that justice was served today for not only the victim and his family, but for the community," Buha said.
The hearing allowed family members to speak; two of Robledo's sisters, Samantha and Ashley, spoke on his behalf.
The sisters told Nicholas that Robledo was a good brother and a loving father to his young daughter and that he was important to their family.
Ruiz's family members were also there and Ruiz's wife, Susana, read a letter she had written.
The letter spelled out how Ruiz's death has impacted her family.
"My children don't have a father any more and my daughter won't have her father to walk her down the isle when she gets married," Susana Ruiz said.
She also told the judge that her son is filled with anger.